CAMP CAPINPIN, Tanay, Rizal — Another child warrior together with an NPA amazon surrendered to the government after local peace negotiations with the Governor of Occidental Mindoro on Thursday.
This development came after Gov Eduardo Gadiano was authorised by Occidental Mindoro’s Provincial Council to talk peace with the insurgent’s through Resolution 171 signed on June 16.
The military identified the 17-year-old minor as Ina Ronaw alias Angel who went down with a female terrorist whom they identified as Marisa Awi alias Maryan. Both of them are indigenous people belonging to the Buhid Tribe.
The report added that both former rebels are members of the NPA’s Platun Serna which is under the Kilusang Larangang Gerilya MAV that is operating in the southern part of Mindoro Island.
Colonel Jose Augusto V Villareal, Commander of 203rd Brigade which has operational jurisdiction over Mindoro, said that the child warrior is an NPA regular who has been involved in armed skirmishes against his troops in the past.
He condemned the NPA terrorists’ recruitment of minors as a “blatant disregard of internationally accepted norms in warfighting” while describing the act as “a clear violation of International Humanitarian Law as well as of both written and unwritten rules between and among combatants.”
“The NPA’s recruitment of minors and exploitation of the IP community are evil practices that can never be justified”, ended Col Villareal.
Gov Gadiano, the Provincial Chief Executive and Chairman of the Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict or PTF ELCAC of Occidental Mindoro, reiterated his commitment “in answering the President’s call for a whole of nation approach to attain just and lasting peace in the whole province so that my people will be able to enjoy the lives that they truly deserve.”
“We will continue to pursue the path to peace regardless of the challenges, we will advocate for open communications between the government and the NPAs, and we will do everything within our authority to help those who are in need particularly the Mangyans and our youth”, ended Gov Gadiano.
The former rebels were quoted as saying that “the relentless military operations which cut off our logistics as well as the recent massive redeployment of forces in the island destroyed our will to fight and made us fear for our lives” as the reasons behind their decision to abandon their armed struggle.
Major General Arnulfo Marcelo B Burgos Jr, Commander of the Army’s 2nd Infantry Division which has operational jurisdiction over Southern Tagalog, commended the Occidental Mindoro’s PTF-ELCAC for its “unwavering commitment to serve our people and defend them from the clutches of terrorism that has been hampering our growth and potentials as a nation.”
He also articulated his exasperation to the NPAs’ “desperate act of recruiting IPs and minors thereby dragging them to harm’s way which is contrary to their propaganda lines of fighting for our people’s welfare.”
Maj Gen Burgos expressed optimism that “more terrorists will surrender in the coming days because of the prevailing demoralisation across their ranks as well as the lingering fear in their minds brought about by the possible signing of the Anti-Terrorism Bill.”
He ended his statement by reaffirming “my soldier’s commitment and dedication in performing our mandate as advocates of peace, servants of the people and defenders of Southern Tagalog.”
They will be enrolled to the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program or E-CLIP which provides benefits up to Php 700,000 worth of grants and reintegration packages.
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